Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pacaya Samaria - Where functional is fashionable every day of the year!

I just gotta tell you about the Amazing Amazon Jungle! It's just a short hop of a flight (come on, one hour on a plane to Iquitos from Lima versus 8 hours on a damned bus from Lima to Huancayo). A one hour drive through gorgeous (albeit sweaty) terrain from the airport brings you to Nauta on the Amazon River. The licensed, multilingual (and charming as all get out) indigenous local guide, appropriately named Rey, meets you at the airport, provides colorful discourse on the journey then escorts you into your boat at Nauta then on to Pacaya Samaria Eco-Lodge (see the photo for the web address). What follows is a fabulous, action packed two to three days that includes hiking through the jungle and learning about medicinal plants and poisonous frogs, snakes and insects, riding on the river boat to see the local monkeys, sloths, zillions of exotic birds and reptiles, visiting the villages where very ex-president Alberto Fujimori made sure that there were schools, fishing for piranhas to have for dinner, and eating lots and lots of great meals made from local fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. I know that I sound like a shameless promoter so I will confess that you can't come here unless you're prepared to defend yourself against mosquitoes, bats and various parasites. I also have to confess that even though I REALLY DID SEE THE PINK DOLPHINS (NOT HALLUCINATING!!!!!), I am not a good enough photographer to capture them even digitally.

New words for my return to Lima? Para llevar (Take Out!)

IDEA FOR HOW YOU CAN SAVE THE WORLD! You know how the Amazon rain forest is, "the lungs of the world," and that the world is at risk because indigenous farmers are slashing and burning down the trees for farmland? There are several international environmental and volunteer organizations that are setting up programs to convince the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon to preserve the old growth jungle and to pursue economic growth through eco-tourism. Find one of these organizations, volunteer for a week teaching English or some other tourist tongue to indigenous children then spend a week at Pacaya Samaria Lodge hanging out and having a fabulous time. But don't forget your Malarone, because prevention is the only language that P. malariae understands!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vanessa; it's 5:30 AM and (my) David woke me up with all of his tossing and turning about 3:45; I tried but couldn't go back to sleep, so I just (finally!) sat down and read ALL of your blogs! Yep, the photos and descriptions bring back vividly our trip to Peru 2 years ago. I even tried cuy (pretty disgusting.) I loved the Amazon; that in and of itself was worth the trip.

    What a saga of your professional experiences down there; you are clearly making an enormous difference to the medical staff and, ultimately, the people of Peru. Kudos!
    I am so glad that Caleb finally made it; I just assumed he'd been down there the whole time. It sounds like he's been a big help since he arrived with the translation, etc. You guys are really going to be blown away by Machu Picchu when you get there.

    The "souvenirs" I splurged on down there were a gold pin/pendant (you can wear it either way) of the ubiquitous Inca warrior, on a chain; some silver jewelry also (it was so inexpensive relative to the US, I couldn't help myself;) and a vicuna cape (like alpaca, but rarer; very soft and warm. (definitely expensive in Peru, but outrageous in the States.)

    Lunch on Sunday, May 23 (with or without the two D's!) works great for me; let's plan on it!